Samit Basu (who, incidentally, is one of the co-dedicatees of my new book) tagged me in a new thing that's going around on author's blogs called The Next Big Thing. It's basically a set of questions about your new piece of work. Which is easy to do, and I love easy. So, here goes:
1) What is the working title of your next book?
Cold Feet. I played around with different titles for a while, and all of them were really long (eg: "You Might Have Heard This Story Before, But Actually You Haven't) (Not a real title.) The .docx file was called cold feet. I liked the name when I first came up with it, but then going to parties, people began saying, "Like the TV show?" I didn't know what TV show they were talking about (answer: this one) but the thing is, no author actually wants their new book to be "like the blah blah?" It has to be their book, because we are all narcissists and the world revolves around us. True story. Go hug a writer today, we're very sad people.
And it's not a working title, it's a TITLE-title.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was up in the hills writing a bunch of short stories. (Bunch sounds wrong. Collective? A random?). I had been invited to a number of weddings that winter. One story became about a girl who is engaged but doesn't know how she feels about the marriage thing. It was a good story. Back in Delhi, my editors suggested I turn that into a novel. And I'd always wanted to write about parallel characters (Cold Feet is five different women) and about Bombay (the novel is set in Bandra) and marriages and the questions that besiege us in our twenties and thirties as Indian women, so I did.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Can I answer this question without giving too much away? Not really. But think Winona Ryder for one of them. Also Emma Stone. (I'm really bad with watching contemporary Hindi films, but I think if this was made into an Indian movie, it would have to be with a newcomers cast. I can't think of anyone in present day Bollywood who would be suitable.)
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
This is a book about five ladies, one of whom will make you think about yourself or someone you know, and their relationships.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Out from Penguin in December 2012.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Not long. Six months? I'm quite speedy when I put my mind to it. Plus this time I was far more disciplined and worked with a plot line so I could keep track of everybody.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Um. Huh. I dunno. I want to say David Mitchell (I WISH, RIGHT?) but Marian Keyes maybe? It's a bit complicated in that like other multi-character books it goes on parallel timelines, BUT, it also goes a bit back-and-forth over time, so it's not all moving at the same pace. Wow, I can't believe I wrote it, actually.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
A lot of my friends are in that existential crisis period of their lives. Marriage! Babies! Houses! I like to think I'm a little less Life's Various Questions, but maybe this was sort of a way for me to figure out stuff too. Which story line am I and so on. There'd been books on Indian women and marriage and relationships before, but none about the ambiguous dilemmas you feel. So I wrote it.
Also, I wanted to explore every single kind of attachment from escapism to flings to absolute commitment, and then friendship and families and being alone in a big city, and this was a good way of doing that.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
If you're not already piqued, you might not ever be. It's very different from You Are Here, structurally, language wise, form wise. It's an entirely different kind of writing for me, and so I'm concerned, yes, but also curious about how it's going to go down. (Hint: don't spend a day reading old bad reviews if you want to avoid feeling like a complete wreck about new projects.) I'm too close to it at the moment to tell whether it's awesome, but I think it might be? It's new at any rate. Read it!